When introducing a change to any complex system (including organizations) keep in mind that it is impossible to predict how the change will impact, due to the unexpected behavior of the system and the continuous events that will change system behavior.

Chaos theory also explained how complex systems created from simple structures and rules that by replication themselves many times create a complex system (fractals). The main take away is that a complex change can start from simple changes that over time will replicate themselves into a significant difference.

Based on the two-point above, When changing any aspect of an organization always start with small steps without knowing the whole picture, over time connections will emerge and fill the blanks into a significant change. Observe the system all the time to make sure that the system is behaving more or less as you expected and that there aren’t any external events that required a pivot from your original plan.

Don’t spend the time to understand the entire system or all the aspects of your proposed change. You’ll never understand the whole system at a level that you can influence it since the system keeps on changing all the time. By the time that you know how the system behaves, the system already changed its behavior to respond to an external event. Using the small steps approach gives you the agility to adjust your change or your goal to the latest changes created by the interactions between all the system parts.

Starting with small steps doesn’t say that you shouldn’t have a clear understanding of where you want the system to be (goals). You need to be flexible on how you reach your goals by moving with small steps and putting aside the need to understand how everything is going to come together to the picture you have in your mind.


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